In the week I was gone, it seems as if a lot of people discovered killer unicorns.
First up, we have Liz at A Chair, A Fireplace, & a Tea Cozy, (now an official School Library Journal blog — gratz, Liz!) who writes:
“Why did I not read this last year? The only good thing about reading it now is that I then immediately read the sequel, Ascendant (September 2010).”
“To reference Buffy one more time – Rampant is what Buffy Season Seven should have been. Different girls of widely different backgrounds, interests, living together, training together, trying to figure out their roles when there are very little rules. I loved it! Forget vampires, the CW should sign this up as the next teen series.
“What else? Peterfreund has created an entire mythology and manages to convey it all the reader without any info-dumps. It’s all woven into the story, helped by the fact that Astrid and her friends are also all discovering this anew. There are lots of real world concerns, like funding the whole boarding-school-for-unicorn-hunters, as well as people trying to figure out, hm, if unicorns are real, what else is real? Turns out there is also a mysterious “Remedy,” somehow made from unicorns, that can cure anything. The story in Rampant is so new, so fresh, so fun, so scary, I just want to keep sharing with you all the awesomeness “and there are five types of unicorns! And the einhorn! And…and…and.”
“And the battles! If part of you is thinking of My Pretty Unicorns and giggling at the thought of those pretty princess rainbow unicorns doing any damage, think again. There is blood and gore and death, and exhaustion and scars and recovery.”
“So in one book: intricate mythology without any distracting dumps of information; scary adventure; family, friendship, love; and killer unicorns. What’s not to love?”
So that floated me through my first day at RWA. Soon after, I discovered this review of RAMPANT at Nymfaux’s blog:
“But if you’re looking for a bad unicorn story, Rampant is definitely your book. Um, wait, that didn’t come out right. What I meant to say was if you’re looking for a kick-ass story about unicorns gone bad…You’ve come to the right place.”
“This was definitely one my favorite new reads(I read it in one sitting)(sleep is moderately overrated), and I am eagerly awaiting its sequel, Ascendant. Why are you so far away September? Why???? Diana Peterfreund is definitely on my watch list!!! My watch, stalk-obsessively, find out any information possible at all costs, list.”
Melissa Silva has had a chance to read Ascendant. Here’s her verdict:
“This book was extremely enjoyable. The continuation of Astrid’s story draws you in and takes you on the journey for discovery with her. I do wish that the book had more of Bucephalus because I enjoyed him in the first book, but the action, adventure and twists in this book made me forget all about wanting the elephant-sized unicorn. I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys adventure, Diana Peterfreund did a fantastic job with this second book, and it left me wanting more.”
And so did Jessica Miller, young adult librarian and blogger at I Read to Relax:
“Astrid is achingly real in this book. She’s torn between wanting to be safe and feeling as if she must do her duty as a hunter. She never gives up trying to do the right thing, ever. Astrid is what I consider a true heroine and has officially sealed her position as one of my top favorite characters of all time. An astounding continuation in the series.”
Ain’t that sweet? And last, but certainly, certainly, certainly not least…. guys, I wrote something that the good folks at Kirkus actually liked. Behold, their August 1st review of Zombies vs. Unicorns (bolding mine):
“Forget vampires vs. werewolves: the hottest feud is between fans of the fiercely magical horses and the shambling, brain-eating undead. Adopting tones from humorous to haunting, tender to terrifying, and settings from the fairy-tale past to modern suburbia to dystopian day-after-tomorrow, twelve YA authors (both up and coming and superstar) explore the mythic potential of each otherworldly creature. Team Zombie offers up both sweetly creepy romances between the living and not-quite-dead and chilling examinations of adolescence after the Zombie Apocalypse. Standouts for Team Unicorn include an inspirational tale of the reluctant heroine born to slay monsters and the baby maneater she loves and a poignant, piercing analysis of the corrosive price demanded by the power to heal. A healthy does of graphic gore and plenty of love and lust (including same-sex and different-species pairings) push this collection into the older teen range. the editors chime in with wonderfully snarky cheerleading and a bit of insightful commentary along the way. Who is the victor in this epic smackdown? Readers, of course! (Fantasy/horror/short stories, 14 & up)“
Still a little giddy about that one. As I’ve mentioned before, this was my first short story written for professional publication. And I wrote it with a specific audience in mind — a cousin of mine that was a tad too young for Rampant when it came out last year, and is, like Wen (the heroine of “The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn”) a young woman of strong faith. It was very cool to see it called “inspirational” in the pages of Kirkus!